Friday, June 4, 2010

Almost-perfect game


If you've ever suffered a "bad call" in a sport, just think how Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga feels.

Last Wednesday, he pitched a "perfect game." That's a game in which the pitcher gets every one of the 27 batters out from the other team.

Perfect games are very rare. There have only been 20 of them in history, so if a pitcher gets a perfect game, it's a very big deal.

On Wednesday, Galarraga had retired 26 batters from the other team, the Cleveland Indians. The last batter hit the ball, but it was thrown to the first baseman, who touched the base first. The batter should have been out and the pitcher would have thrown a perfect game.

Right? Wrong.

Unfortunately, the umpire made a mistake. Umpire Jim Joyce thought the runner got to first base in time, and he called the runner "safe." That would mean that one person was on base - so no perfect game.

But the umpire was wrong. In the heat of the action, he thought he saw the runner get to first in time, but that wasn't what happened. Even though he realized his mistake, it was too late. In baseball, once an umpire makes a call, it stands. The runner was declared safe at first and the pitcher didn't get his "perfect game."

Galarraga was disappointed but he isn't holding it against the umpire. He understands that Joyce is a good umpire who just made a mistake. Yesterday, the two shook hands. It was an emotional moment for both of them - especially the umpire, who feels terrible about the incident.

Related links:
Here is an article from The Globe and Mail.
Here's The Star article.

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